It sounds such an appealing title; 'The Contented Little Baby Book', But follow the advice contained within at your peril!

Nick Clegg today critisised the methods prescribed in the book, having learnt for himself that they go against all natural instinct to love and cherish your children.

The book first came to my attention many years ago when quite a few of my friends were talking about this new anti breastfeeding book, Don't missunderstand this, if you look through the book the author never says anything bad about breastfeeding, in fact she says it is good - she just lays out a regime that makes it so impossible to breastfeed your baby that I have never met a mother who has followed the book who has managed it!

I have met lots of mothers who have read the book and tried to follow the instructions and this has lead to all sorts of problems with Breastfeeding. Gina Ford advice ignores the fact that babies have an intense need for human contact, her regime only trains babies to realise that crying is pointless - no-one is coming to comfort them. 

Like us, babies get thirsty at random moments, not on a fixed schedule. I don't like to wait for a glass of water when I am thirsty, and I think it is cruel to make a baby wait. 

The saddest thing about the book is that it destroys the relationship between a mother and baby. The baby is portrayed as almost inhuman, a naughty 'thing' that will take from you it you give it half a chance. The babies mother loses her unique status in the babies life, she is not anything special, she can be replaced by anyone, I guess that, as Gina Ford is a Nanny that is what she has had to do, find ways to cope with a baby that can't have for whatever reason, its mother. But Mothers who can give their babies love should not need advice on Nannying babies, They are Mothers who can Mother and that's very different.


Unknown said...

Absolutely brilliant post.

Babies and parents are all unique and each family needs to get to know each other. That book completely destroys that process.

There are also very many complex biological interactions between mother and baby that I think we interfere with at our peril. Babies come out hardwired for being kept close to mum (or another person when she needs a rest), being reassured by the rhythm of her heartbeat, having unrestricted access to her milk. To be put away, swaddled in blankets rather than the warmth of another body, in the complete darkness causes huge amounts of stress.

One of my favourite books is "How love matters - how affection shapes a baby's brain" which gives the scientific reasons why responsive parenting causes the baby much less stress and how regimes like Gina's can have long term harmful effects.

Anonymous said...

We have a baby that slept an unusually short number of hours per day: three per day on average for the first six months. She was like this probably because both parents are hyperactive - in the genes and all that. We eventually worked out a shift system where we could get some sleep, but at different times. Through all this we gave our daughter lots of love and cuddles whenever she wanted them, and my wife breastfed for over six months. The result? A very happy, well-adjusted toddler who has only had one cold since birth. It's been hard, but I shudder to think of using Gina Ford's techniques. It's a hackneyed phrase, but if she had children of her own she would realise her methods were wrong. Babies should not be treated the way she teaches.

Anonymous said...

Over the past 100 years or so humans have been told to ignore their instincts and to look to books and other people for advice on simple matters. We dont need anyone to tell us how to care for a baby, if we lived in isolation we would know naturally as our bodies have evolved to carry out survival techniques developed over 100's of thousands of years. Lisa's comments are excellent and Nick Clegg has done a great job in speaking out against this old fashioned method of child rearing.

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